A Brief History of Extreme Diets
Tapeworms, cotton balls, and cigarettes—not exactly the breakfast of champions, but at one point these (and a dozen other items) were featured ingredients in the craziest diet menus of all time.
See also the never-eat-again diet.
1820 The Vinegar Diet:
Popularized by Lord Byron, who reportedly subsisted on potatoes soaked in vinegar.
Fans (including Henry James and Franz Kafka) chewed until all the "goodness" was extracted from food, then spit out the remains.
1900 The Tapeworm Diet:
Parasites were sold in pill form, intended to mature in your intestine and digest food before the body can.